Smoking and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa: A 25-Country Analysis of the Demographic Health Surveys
Having HIV/AIDS has been associated with a higher prevalence of smoking. Moreover, evidence suggests that people with HIV/AIDS who smoke have poorer treatment and survival outcomes. The HIV–smoking relationship is understudied in sub-Saharan Africa, where tobacco use patterns and HIV prevalence differ greatly from other world regions.
Cross-sectional data from the Demographic Health Surveys and AIDS Indicator Surveys, representing 25 sub-Saharan African countries, were pooled for analysis (n = 286850). The association between cigarette smoking and HIV status was analyzed through hierarchical logistic regression models. This study also examined the relationship between smokeless tobacco (SLT) use and HIV status.
Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among men who had HIV/AIDS than among men who did not (25.90% vs 16.09%; p < .0001), as was smoking prevalence among women who had HIV/AIDS compared with women who did not (1.15% vs 0.73%; p < .001). Multivariate logistic regression revealed that the odds of smoking among people who had HIV/AIDS was 1.12 times greater than among people who did not when adjusting for socioeconomic, demographic, and sexual risk factors (adjusted OR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.04% to 1.21%; p< .001). Similarly, multivariate logistic regression revealed that HIV-positive individuals were 34% more likely to use SLT than HIV-negative individuals (adjusted OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.17% to 1.53%).
Having HIV was associated with a greater likelihood of smoking cigarettes as well as with using SLT in sub-Saharan Africa. These tobacco use modalities were also associated with male sex and lower socioeconomic status.
This study shows that in sub-Saharan Africa, as in more studied world regions, having HIV/AIDS is associated with a higher likelihood of smoking cigarettes when adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and sexual risk factors. This study also supports the literature stating that cigarette smoking is inversely associated with socioeconomic status, as evidenced by higher smoking prevalence among poorer individuals, less educated individuals, and manual and agricultural laborers.